Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Independent media takes a cue from organic agriculture

Briarpatch ‘Deeper Roots’ Campaign Off to Strong Start

In response to unprecedented instability in the media industry, Briarpatch Magazine has launched its “Deeper Roots” campaign in an effort to revolutionize the indy mag’s funding model.

The campaign adapts a funding model from community supported agriculture, with supporters making a regular monthly donation in exchange for regular delivery of the magazine. One month in, the campaign has seen a strong early response: Briarpatch is 30% of the way to meeting its fundraising goal for the year.

In an April 12 open letter, editor Dave Oswald Mitchell informed readers that the publication was anticipating a funding shortfall of $30,000 in 2010/11 unless something was done – the result, in part, of being denied Canada Magazine Fund funding for two years and with uncertainty about future funding under the recently announced Canada Periodical Fund. If successful, the Deeper Roots campaign will more than make up this shortfall.

Mitchell’s letter asks supporters to sign on for a “media funding revolution” that draws more on reader support than on external sources like advertising or grants:

Like Cuba before the Special Period, Briarpatch has become overly reliant on unsustainable infusions of imported energy (not Soviet oil in our case, but, rather, government grants). Cuba addressed its crisis by embracing grassroots, organic, urban agriculture. . . .

Our plan is ambitious but achievable. And we want it to serve as a model of the grassroots media of the future: organically funded, intellectually nutritious, aesthetically delicious and all-’round good for a growing body politic.

The 37-year old magazine has set a goal of signing up 150 new sustainers by March 2011, each donating $10 or more per month. One month into the campaign, 45 new sustainers have already signed on.

“We’re encouraged by the response so far,” says publisher Shayna Stock. “The magazine has faced funding crises in the past, and has always emerged stronger and more independent. Thanks to our strong base of support, I’m confident this time won’t be any different.”

Briarpatch publishes six times a year and reaches subscribers in every province and territory. Recent issues of the magazine have tackled topics like global feminism, Canadian foreign policy, the justice system and education. Briarpatch was just nominated for two National Magazine Awards – best single issue and best photojournalism/photo essay.

“We hope this new funding model will be adopted and adapted by the next generation of grassroots media,” Mitchell says. “The world needs independent media, including Briarpatch, to thrive and continue to act as a watchdog and an advocate for issues of public concern.”

To learn more about Briarpatch and the Deeper Roots campaign, please click here.

For further information or comment, please contact Editor Dave Oswald Mitchell or Publisher Shayna Stock
at (306) 525-2949.

No comments:

Post a Comment